NEWS11 Remembers: Helen Manley

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(KPLR) – If there are two classes most students are sure to remember from their younger years, it's probably PE and sex education.

And one St. Louisan significantly changed the way both are taught.

Paul Schankman has more in this week's NEWS 11 Remembers.

Helen Manley was way ahead of her time and I am sure in the 1930`s a bit controversial in university city and in St. Louis as well.
And "her" time began when she was born in St. Louis in 1894. Helen Manley left home to attend Wellsley and returned home a teacher with an interest in physical education, which at the time had been mostly about calisthenics.

Her view was that physical training and physical exercise ought to be something that was fun and enjoyable so she had her students playing in a whole variety of games and other activities with the idea; that if they did those things they would engage in them for a lifetime and who is going to do pushups for a lifetime when they don`t have to anymore.

If that change had been her only contribution to teaching it would have been significant; but Helen Manley also thought schools should offer sexual education as well, a risky position to take in the 1930's.

She was really highly thought of not only among her peers and colleague; but much beloved in the University City school system as well. So she must have brought a lot of common sense and sensitivity to it that allowed her to do it in ways that didn`t threaten anybody.

Helen Manley retired from the U-City school system in the 1960's, but she went on to serve the profession for many years through leadership positions in national scholastic organizations.

And all those years of physical activity appear to have served her well.
She died in 1987, three days after her 93rd birthday.

NEWS 11 Remembers is brought to you by the Missouri History Museum and America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses.  I'm Paul Schankman.